She needs a safe haven, he wants his freedom. Add a supernatural matchmaker and an unexpected mentor, and their lives will never be the same.
Tanya has been running for her life for two years, but when Ms. Lillian, owner of the exclusive “Heaven’s Touch” match making service, graciously gives her a week’s stay at her private bed and breakfast in St. Augustine, FL, she seizes the opportunity to escape to a possible hideaway.
Kaden is of a rare and precious race prized for extraordinary abilities. He is also half-demon, remanded to Kushiel’s custody centuries ago. Allowed to leave Hell twice a year, three days each time – Beltane, and Samhain, his life thus far has been filled with slavery, torture, and despair, and he is nearly convinced that his soul is beyond redemption. Still, he longs for freedom. Can Tanya redeem him? Can Kaden dare hope for a reprieve?
Tanya smiled as she stepped onto the elevator. Room 333 – that should give her good fortune. She wasn’t counting on it. Ms. Lillian’s exclusive matchmaking business, “Heaven’s Touch,” was revered and respected by any and everyone with money and power – those who knew about it, that is. No matter how grateful she was, Tanya still hoped to God her benefactor wasn’t trying to hook her up with some clown.
She needed a man’s drama like she’d needed a bullet in her back a few hours ago. Plus, most men seemed intimidated by her…unless they were trying to kill her, that is. She was a big girl, and she’d always been a fighter, but right now, she was just tired and…lonely. The voice in her head that never kept silent long enough spoke up. “Matchmaking is what she does. Getting hooked up with a man is a hell of a lot better than running for your life.”
She blew an errant strand of hair out of her face. As long as there wasn’t somebody in her room, suite, whatever waiting to kill her, it was all good.
Just before the door closed, a huge hand slid inside, causing the doors to automatically stop. Heat rushed through Tanya’s body like a furnace. She glanced around to see if anyone else had been affected by the unseen force, but apparently she was just having a young adult hot flash. At least that’s what she thought until the elevator doors opened to reveal the source of titillating heat.
She covered her heart with her right hand as she gazed into the smoky gray eyes of very possibly the most gorgeous man she’d ever seen in her twenty-nine years. Not a pretty man, but breathtaking in his masculinity. Testosterone rolled off him in waves. Over six and a half feet tall, she had to look up at him. At nearly six feet herself, looking up at a man was a welcome rarity. Storm clouds brewed in his eyes, so dark they seemed to swallow the light, and his skin, dark bronze with muscles so massive his black short-sleeve T and sweats couldn’t begin to hide them.
Her heart kicked up a few notches and she immediately understood the hot flash, stifling the overwhelming desire to fan herself. Her rational side whispered, dangerous, but the other part of her, the part she hadn’t seen nor heard from since her father was killed, purred, Yum. Okay, I know what I said about men and their drama, not to mention my own situation being a little out of sorts at the moment, but look at him. Really? Am I really supposed to just…?
She realized she was still staring at him when he hesitated, giving her an odd look as he stepped onto the elevator. A moment of embarrassment came and went when she reminded herself she’d just survived a near death experience. Well, sort of, but whether she wanted to get technical or not, she deserved something for herself, and even though he definitely looked dangerous in a delicious kind of way, she felt connected to him somehow, drawn by more than his sex appeal.
Her instincts had never been wrong. In fact, it was her instincts that saved her life, the reason she wasn’t murdered along with the rest of her family. She’d sensed something wrong that day and called her family’s witness protection handler, refusing to go inside. Riddled with guilt for months afterward, she’d wandered, nearly walking into one of the henchmen Arardo hired to kill her. Right now, her instincts were all she had.
The dark-eyed god glanced at the control panel, probably to see if his floor number was selected, then stared at the floor. Tanya glanced at the buttons again. So he was either on the second, fourth, or blessed be, the third floor with her.
She planned to ride past her floor if necessary and find out where he was staying. Of course, what she’d do when she found out was anyone’s guess, but then she’d never been much of a planner, even before she started running for her life. One step at a time. She watched him from the corner of her eye, doing a mental happy dance when they reached the third floor and he stepped out.
She skipped off after him and sauntered down the corridor towards her room, feeling like stalker girl as she stayed a respectable distance behind him. He stopped, swiped his keycard, and opened the door to his room. Tanya nearly passed by him until she noticed the room number – 333. Hmm. Maybe it was good fortune after all.
In the spirit of full disclosure I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
A short sweet romance with a dark twist. Well written. Kaden and Tanya are great characters. I enjoyed the way this brief story played out, many unexpected pieces to the plot kept it entertaining.
I would have liked just a bit more background to the characters, but with short stories it’s hard to do that without seeming like info dump.
About the Author:
A classically trained pianist and vocalist with a degree in piano and vocal performance, Dariel plays more than 10 instruments, and worked as a band and choral director. With a master’s in counseling psychology, she worked in mental health therapy, substance abuse counseling, and school/career counseling for more years than she wishes to reveal. She has presently completed studies for a Ph.D. with the exception of her dissertation, but a more recent battle with kidney failure changed her perspective and renewed a focus on her first loves, writing and music. Dariel is a native Mobilian and minister of music. In addition to her novels and articles, she has written and directed three musicals and composed more than 30 scripturally based compositions. She lives with a variety of pets, where she is working on three paranormal romance series, composing music, and making plans to record soon.
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